Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sup. Campos Can't Open Gay Homeless Shelter in 4-Years

Here's what I really don't understand about this candidate for California's assembly district 17.

Supervisor David Campos is a Harvard law school graduate, has spent more than a decade at City Hall as a public servant in the City Attorney's office, was on the police commission, is a Member of the Board, sits on various transportation committees and was also elected to the Democratic County Central Committee.

Sounds like he's a smarty-pants, right? At least to me and I would expect him to know his way around the various public agencies for housing and buildings and permits, etc, and how and where to apply pressure to get a shelter in his district opened and serving the needs of homeless LGBT people.

More than four years ago, plans began to make 24 beds available at a facility on South Van Ness Avenue in his district. Seth Hemmelgarn of the Bay Area Reporter recently wrote an update on the status of the shelter and it sure seems like this matter will drag on and on and on:

Gay Supervisor David Campos, a key backer of the shelter, said in an interview Monday that the objective is to open the shelter space this fall, and he's "cautiously optimistic" that goal will be reached.

"We've had a number of meetings in my office with various players to make sure we're moving things as quickly as we can," said Campos.

According to estimates from Swinerton Builders, the project managers working pro bono with Dolores Street on the project, construction will take four to five months to complete. 

However, as Sandra Kim, Swinerton's proposal manager noted, construction can't begin until the permits have been issued. Getting those approvals could take several weeks, if not months.

Practically everyone involved in the shelter keeps citing permits needing to be issued and if Campos has rallied his troops to pressure City agencies to finally get off the dime in the past year, he's sure kept that news quiet. Heck, forget about his troops. He's got three paid staffers who should be nudging the agencies daily and keeping the community informed on (lack of) progress.

Should he possess a plan and timeline regarding what he and his office will do between now and November's election, let's see it. That might make me consider voting for him in June's primary.

One argument made to elect Campos to the assembly is that we need a gay politician at the table in Sacramento advocating for LGBT people and our needs and that person is Campos. Oh, yeah?

Considering his lackadaisical approach to this shelter, and how the only updates we ever get are either when the BAR writes about them or I get news from the nonprofit that would operate the shelter.

I'm no fan of Supervisor David Chiu's and certainly do not view him as progressive, the label Campos so proudly wears, but just because I'm not voting for Chiu is no reason to turn a blind eyes to four-years of Campos unable to move the shelter from the planning stages to reality.

If he can't deliver on activating City agencies in such a long period for such a relatively small project, I don't believe Campos will do any better moving State agencies if he's elected to Sacramento.

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